Sunday, November 04, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Molly MacRae!

It's Molly MacRae Day here on Kittling: Books! If you haven't read it yet, I reviewed the first book in Molly's Haunted Yarn Shop mystery series, Last Wool and Testament, and now I have to wait for the next one, Dyeing Wishes. When I started doing a bit of research on Molly, imagine my delight when I discovered that she's a librarian at the Champaign Public Library-- not far from where I was born and raised in Illinois!

Molly MacRae
As usual, I thought I'd share a few links with you, just in case you'd like to learn more about Molly and her books:

Now let's get to the fun part... the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special? 

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. Everything about it delighted me – the rhyming, the illustrations, the words and made up words, and the absurdity and surprise.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time? 

Read and cook and read cookbooks.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)  

Main Library, University of Illinois, Champaign
Go to the Central Circulation Desk on the second floor of the Main library at the University of Illinois and enter the Main Stacks. Wow. Ten floors of solidly packed books. Books like you can’t believe. Amazing numbers of books. Rows and rows and rows of books. Acres of books. And it’s dark in there to protect the books, until you flip switches. Spooky, cool as all get out. Perfect place to find a body. The University of Illinois is the largest public academic research library in the U.S. It’s incredible and you need to see it to believe it. 

[Cool! I also learned that it's the fifth largest library in the entire country!]

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you? 

Julie Walters
Julie Walters, even though we probably look nothing alike and it’s the wrong accent. She’s already played someone named Molly, though, (Molly Weasley) and already played a writer (in Mamma Mia). 

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?  

Jane Marple.

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?  

Hard to say, but I might as well say One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish because of the fond memories and because it would be fun to have something signed by Dr. Seuss

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore? 

My first published mystery was a short story in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. When I received the acceptance letter in the mail, I hooted and ran through the woods to the nearest neighbor’s house, waving the letter and leaping over logs and tree roots (we lived in the woods at the edge the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee). 

The first time I saw a copy of Hitchcock with one of my stories on a shelf in a bookstore, I was taken completely by surprise. We were visiting in Ohio and stopped in a bookstore – because isn’t that what everyone does when they go somewhere? I checked to see if they carried the magazine, because that’s also something I always do. They did have it. What I didn’t know, though, was that my latest story was in that issue or, even better, that it was the cover story. I’m not a very loud person, but I embarrassed my children with a lot of “wows” and “oh my goshes.”  

Name one thing on your Bucket List. 

Jing'an Park, Shanghai
Go to Bubbling Well Cemetery (now called Jing’an Park) and Rue Moliere (now called Xiangshan Road) in Shanghai, China, where my grandmother is buried and where my father was born and grew up. There’s nothing left of the graves or the houses, but I’d like to stand there, anyway. 

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for? 

The gift card comes attached to a time machine and I go back fifteen years to the Book Place in Johnson City, Tennessee. What a great bookstore, that was. 

No time machine? Okay, then I’ll take a road trip to Madison, Wisconsin, and spend the money at Booked for Murder. And I encourage everyone to support their brick-and-mortar bookstores. Buy books and buy them often.


Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Molly. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to get to know you a little better!

May your book sales do nothing but increase! 



  1. I love this debut to a new series. Great interview


  2. And thank you, Cathy, for having me here today. Your site is a wonderful resource!

    1. You're welcome here any time, Molly! Thank you for those kind words.

  3. I'm using the Molly-won-the-basket story in my books talks, and it's always a hit!
    Great interview, and great idea for a series. Who could resist those titles?

    1. I love the comment someone made about Molly's book that said, "She puts the woo-woo in wool." :-)

  4. Thanks, Peg. Your basket is the gift that keeps on giving. The cherry almond jam made the BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I've eaten in ages and my husband and I took that splendid bottle of wine to a dia de los muertos party Saturday night (despite rumors that Sarah and I drank it while waiting for AAA in Indiana).

    1. No fair! It's almost midnight and now I'm craving cherry almond jam on some of my homemade bread!


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